Power BI: The Best Way to Build a Good Solution Is to Keep Learning

By Noah Mattern| March 08, 2019

Power BI was first made generally available in July 2015. Since then, Microsoft has released more than 400 features. While this rapid innovation is enabling users to sign up for services in seconds and frequently gain more access to deeper insights, the pace of change has made it difficult to know which new features to leverage and when.

Whether you’re the CIO, IT Director, or developer, staying up-to-date with the latest technology updates and training is important. You will be in a better position to envision, design, and create a Power BI solution which addresses your business needs in the best way possible. However, the release of applications often come with little guidance to help businesses understand the intended purpose, or even the existence, of what’s available.

If you’re looking to make the most of your Power BI investment, here are three tips to help you stay current on all that Power BI has to offer your business.

1. Establish a Monthly Cadence to Check for Power BI Updates

Microsoft announces a new version of Power BI every month through the Power BI Docs feed. It’s a good idea to get in the habit of checking these updates monthly. The articles are straightforward and easy to understand, and often come with supplemental video demos and blogs to help you start testing out the new features right away.

Microsoft also has a Power BI blog that posts about new updates and trending conversations. If you prefer videos, one of my favorite Power BI resources is the YouTube channel Guy in a Cube.

But even with all these great resources, the amount of information to digest can be overwhelming. Don’t feel like you have to become an expert on everything. This is where having a clearly defined set of use cases can help you sift through the noise and hone in on the the new capabilities that will enhance your specific needs. Which brings me to tip #2…

2. You Don’t Need to Adopt Everything – Know Your Use Cases

Just because a new tool is introduced, doesn’t mean there is an inherent problem. Rather than allowing the onslaught of new features to drive your use cases, identify the actual needs of your business first. From there, you can make better choices around what updates are worth your time based on what’s going to drive the greatest business value. There may be more features than you need in Power BI, but there is almost always at least one new feature or enhancement that could improve or allow for something you’ve been struggling to do in the past.

3. Stay Current on Emerging Technology Trends like Artificial Intelligence

If you’re still building the same old solutions with the foundational capabilities in Power BI, it’s time to start educating yourself on the latest technology trends that are enabling businesses for both today and tomorrow. Not only will this help you build the confidence to determine how new features should be designed and implemented, but it will future-proof your business from disruption in today’s fast-moving digital landscape.

One trend to keep an eye out for is Artificial Intelligence (AI). New technologies like machine learning and AI are now actively being used in businesses across all industries to comb through tons of data automatically, find patterns, and help users across the organization understand what the data means and even predict future outcomes. Power BI is taking major steps forward in bringing AI to all businesses. In fact, there are already numerous AI capabilities that require no code to implement. This enables all users to discover hidden, actionable insights that drive better business outcomes.

It may be easy to create Power BI dashboards, but it’s a little harder to create a meaningful report! I hope the tips covered in this post provide you with a better sense of the where, what, and when to look for new updates that can impact the way you gather and analyze your data.


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